I sat outside the doors of Rozaey Mubarak, my lips moist with zikar and my heart trembling. It had been an hour of waiting as I kept sending Durood on you. The more I thought of meeting you, the more I cried. I kept thinking how would I ever face you? What would I say to you? My eyes were on the door, tears rolled down my eyes but my heart, for the first time in my life, was with you. Everyone around me was in a state of unrest as they moved here and there, waiting desperately to meet you. But I sat in a corner, just crying, not knowing what would I say to that one person who loved me so much. Every sacrifice that you had done for me, and every sin that I had done not to value that sacrifice, crossed my mind. Every night that you had been up for me and every night that I had wasted crossed my mind. Every empty durood that had been said by my tongue weighed like a stone on my heart. Every act I had done just because it was sunnah brought tears to my eyes. The love that I felt for you that day, I had never felt it before. It was not long that the doors opened and I saw everyone rush to meet you. I followed them at a much slower pace; each step was hard to take. When I was there, right in front of you, I raised my hands, and my heart begged for only one thing: that you smile at me when you see me on the day of judgment, and you are proud that I am your daughter.
It is a strange world that I live in. Sometimes I look at the stars, and I wonder, are you watching me? Do you see me running from class to class? As soon as the week starts and I have to wake up for the first 8 am class of the week, I feel like it is a rollercoaster that I embark on. A roller coaster on which I try to fit in my Deen and Dunya. As I go from class to class, as I run from room to room, as I read my class readings in every spare minute, I see myself fitting in my prayers in the 5-minute class breaks. I see myself doing empty sajdahs so that I can run back to my classes. As the week progresses from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday, I get worse. But I tell my heart, it is okay, don’t worry, let Friday come. On Friday I will tell my Rabb how much I love Him. I will forget the world and sit with Him. I will talk to Him, and I will tell Him my stories. I have so much to say to Him. Just let Friday come that day it will only be Him and me. I build up my hopes, and I live a fantasy of that Friday to come. When Thursday comes, and my classes end by 6:00 and I drag myself to the masjid, I realize, I am so tired. I do not have the energy anymore. As tears roll down my face, I look up at the stars again, and I wonder, are you watching me? My heart is heavy, my eyes are wet, and I crave closeness to you, but I do not have the energy anymore. All I have is an overbearing love in my heart that I wish to express to you.
I still remember that day. Our plane landed at Qatar airlines. I remember those two hours that we waited to transfer our carriers to Jeddah. That two hours in Qatar were wonderful. I didn’t know I had that much love in me for people. I remember that girl who came up to me and inquired, “kaifa Hammam?” I smiled at her and pointed to the left. I don’t know what people saw when they looked at me at that time. Did they see a crazy hijaabi, smiling at everything and everyone around her? Or did they see the love in my eyes as I glanced at someone speaking Arabic? I would touch the water and whisper, “Ma’un.” I would touch things and whisper, “Maa haaza.” That is all the Arabic that I knew, but for a moment it seemed enough.
After that, everything is a blur, reaching Jeddah, reaching Makkah, the hotel, the fatigue, everything is a blur except the walk to the Ka’bah. As I walked, I was not alone. There were countless men and women around me in Ahraam, and they were all saying, “Labaik, Allahumma Labaik.” I looked at them, and I wondered, this is just Umrah, what would this crowd be like at Hajj time. How louder would the cry of Labaik be? How high would the level of emotions be? As I looked around and I entered the haram paak, I felt like I was living a dream. When I reached Baabe Salam, and I took the stairs to go to the ground floor, my heart was a mess. I was in front of it. Finally. I was right there in front of it. The moment that I had waited for so many months was here. I raised my head and looked at the Ka’aba for the first time. I was in awe. I could not look away even as I cried. And even as I raised my hands to make dua, I could not look elsewhere. I felt like it was a dream. I wanted to touch it, I wanted to hug it, and I wanted to cry about all the injustices that I had done to my soul. I still remember that day.
When I look back, I wonder, was it a dream? I think of the Zam-zam coolers lined up. I think of the gates of the Masjid-e-Nabwi. I think of the last moment that I saw the Ka’bah and the sadness I felt as I wondered if I would ever see it again. I feel that sadness now too. I think of the first look, the first tawaf, the drink of Zam-zam and I wonder was it all a dream? If it was not, I want to see it again, I want to repeat Labaik, I want to feel it all again. The next time I go, I am not coming back.
It is that time of the semester when nothing makes sense. The grades get worse, emotions get stronger, and relationships get better as when at the start of the semester. It is that time of the semester when I have traveled a long distance away from You. When I want to cry but I cannot. When I want to remember You, but I do not. When I want to do good deeds, but I do not. When my heart is broken, and all I want to do is, curl up on the prayer mat and cry to You about all the injustices I have done to my soul. When every person’s presence I crave because I neglected Your presence. When I scroll through contacts at night, wanting to talk to someone and tell her how upset I am because I stopped realizing that You answered me way before the makhlooq. Like every other semester, I am back at that point where I am broken, dirty, lost and in need of You. I raise my hands, but I no longer know what to say to you. I look at people, and I hide because I am afraid they would know how horrible I am. Every day I am halfway towards hopelessness before my heart drags me back. Every day my nafs drags me to the doors of hell, but the door of your Rehmah comes in between that way. Every day is hard because it is that time of the semester when I have traveled a long distance away from you. Once upon a time, once upon a few days, once upon a few moments, I was solely utterly Yours. I want that time back.
I was annoyed at my phone. I don’t know why it was continuously turning off even though I did not use it often. I had even uninstalled extra applications such as Snapchat, Facebook, etc. I took great care that it would not fall from my hands or any other place that I placed it on. In the two years that it was with me it had never fallen in water as my siblings’ phones did. I had started wearing wrist watch just so that I would not have to look at my phone again and again for me. I had reduced the amount of time I spent on my phone. After all these steps it had continued to turn off without any reason. It was charged around 60 percent, and I had just picked t up after many hours. Suddenly it turned off again. Finally, I had to take that extreme step which I was avoiding: factory reset. I looked at all the applications that had installed. There were only a few as I had uninstalled the others. I backed up all my photos, contacts, and any other file that was on my phone. Then I tapped on the factory reset option and waited as the process started. Alas! My phone turned off again. And I let it be. Aesy hay tou aesy hi sahi. Later I realized that this was so similar to our life in this world. We don’t know when the flicker of our life turns off. All the installed applications in our phone are very much like the things we gather in this world: wealth, property, education, etc. All these were not the built-in apps in our lives. We specifically downloaded them to live a better and entertaining life. The built-in app in our life is our fitrah which knows that we have come in this life to pray, to worship Allah SWT. The built-in app is the Quran which was revealed for us 1400 years ago, so that we live our lives according to the commandments of Allah SWT. The built-in app is the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which guides us how to live in this world. All the backup data is our aamal which we save for the Hereafter. That backup will determine our place in the next world: Jannat or Jahannum.